Art of Photography

Rob Townsend

Exercise – Implied lines

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1. Find and indicate the implied lines in two given photographs
2. Repeat the exercise with three existing photographs of your own
3. Take two new photographs demonstrating (a) an eye-line, and (b) a line that points, or the extension of a line


Canon EOS 650D with EF 18-200mm f/3.5 lens; Leica X1 24mm.


1. Given images:


corrida lines


Here the dominant implied line is the movement of the bull, followed by the swish of the cape. The head-down stance of the concentrating matador produces an eye-line implied line too.


horses lines


The diagonal leaning in of the two horses gives a very strong implied line here. The movement of the handler from right to left is perceptible but a little less strong.

2. Existing images:


beach lines


The combination of the shade provided by the nearby cliff and the connecting line of the person and the dog produces an implied line from bottom-right to centre-left.


bike lines


The diagonal angle of the rider coupled with the white line give a strong sense of the direction of travel.


train lines


The lines of the train converge on the figure in the background giving a feeling of direction and velocity.

3. New images:


alley lines


Here the shaft of light coming in from the bottom-left points directly at the figure moving from the background to the foreground.


eyeline lines


Even though the eyes are not visible, this over-the-shoulder shot invites the viewer to look at what she is photographing herself, which leads the viewer’s eye to the boats on the other side of the river.

What I’ve learned:

I found this exercise a little more challenging than the previous ones, as I find it easier to identify reasonably obvious lines than implied ones (not surprisingly). So this took a little bit of thinking about and a certain amount of trial and error. However, once I stepped through the first part of the exercise it made the second part easier as it made me look at my own photos in a slightly different way. This in turn gave me a better idea on how to seek out such implied lines for the new images in the third part. Implied lines is not something I naturally look for in images, so I need to add it to the ever-increasing list of things to consider before pressing the shutter! But I have found this exercise interesting and will keep this concept in mind in the future.


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